Anger as FIA announces double points for Abu Dhabi season finale to spice up show
10 December, 2013
Formula 1 is to award double points for the last race of the season in a controversial attempt to keep championships undecided to the very end after four years of Red Bull domination.
The novelty, immediately dismissed by some angry fans as a needless gimmick, was the most eye-catching of several rule changes announced by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) on Monday.
The FIA said double points would ‘maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign’ and had been unanimously approved at a meeting in Paris of teams in the F1 Strategy Group and Formula 1 Commission.
Next year’s season-ender is the day-to-night race in Abu Dhabi on 23 November.
With the points haul on offer, that often processional event becomes worth twice as much as Monza or Monaco to teams and drivers - the glamour highlight of the season – and the same in scoring terms as classics like Spa and Suzuka combined.
Fans were quick to express dismay and anger on social media, while others pointed out that bad luck in the final race would have a far greater impact on the title outcome than at any other point in the season.
International publications have described the highly controversial decision to award double-points in the 2014 season finale as “strange” (Bild) and “crazy” (La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Writing in the Daily Mail, correspondent Jonathan McEvoy said Formula 1′s decision-makers have “undermined the sport with a gimmick that should have been filed away with sprinklers and reversed grids in the file of batty ideas”.
France’s L’Equipe points out that, if the system had already been in place, Felipe Massa (not Lewis Hamilton) would be the 2008 Champion, and that Fernando Alonso would have beaten Sebastian Vettel to the 2012 crown.
Only three times in the last two decades would the identity of Formula 1′s World Champion have been different had double points been allocated for the final grand prix of the season.
“Why should a single race be worth more?” the Brazilian correspondent for Globo, Rafael Lopes, said. “It’s a very artificial way to keep the championship alive until the last Grand Prix.”
“Why should an average driver with an unreliable car have the same chance just because of the scoring system? And that’s not to mention that Abu Dhabi, to date, has hosted almost no good races on a pretty boring track,” he added.
Vettel, 26, won the last nine races and wrapped up his fourth title in a row with three rounds to spare this year but he would not have been champion in 2012 had double points been awarded in the last race.
Neither would Britain’s Lewis Hamilton have been champion with McLaren in 2008 nor Michael Schumacher for Ferrari in 2003, when Brazilian Felipe Massa and Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen would have taken the title instead. (Reuters & GMM)
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